"The problem is these people don't know who to believe"

April 23, 2007 by Dave Haynes

The St. Paul Pioneer-Press (good paper, by the way) has a piece about the industry and hangs it on 3M, which is either one of the biggest, or THE biggest, employer in the Twin Cities area.

It goes through all the usual stuff about it being fast emerging and the pot of money at the end of the rainbow. What’s interesting in there are the comments from Laura Davis-Taylor, an Atlanta-based retail media consultant, who says she has clients who get 25-30 calls a week from people peddling digital signage products.

And the vendors, she says, “are all starting to sound alike.”

The crowded field of vendors adds to the confusion for customers, consultants say.

“The problem is these people don’t know who to believe,” said Davis-Taylor, who counts some big-box retailers among her clients. “They know everyone is under pressure to land a big fish.”

Imagine being the poor slob who got skipped a meeting and then got the memo saying, “Please provide a definitive report on the best strategy and technology for digital signage in our store. I would like to have something Monday morning.”

You wade into it, and discover there are 300 or so best in class, best of breed, industry-leading, groundbreaking, death defying competitors out there.

My advice, if you’re one of those poor slobs, figure out what you really need to do, what kind of support (if any) you’ll get from IT, what’s critical (such as reliability, support for HD, whatever), define a budget and set some timelines. Then you can at least start weeding out a lot of vendors and zeroing in on what’s going to work for you.

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